“During rest the body rebuilds, renews, rewires, and re-creates itself.” – Dr. Matthew Edlund, author of The Power of Rest
For most people, the opportunity to rest and take a break from work and the stress of just everyday living is a welcome moment. Most of us do not get enough sleep and certainly not enough “downtime.” And rest is necessary for the optimum functioning of our minds and bodies.
But, for some, “rest” is a four-letter word!
Just the mere thought of sitting and doing… nothing(!) is anathema to them. For these people, sleep is an unfortunate necessity and downtime is simply an excuse for not staying active. If you are one of these people, however, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.
The Power of Rest
Athletes and others who work out on a regular basis understand the need for and value of resting between workouts.
According to one source, resting your muscles between workouts is extremely important as strenuous exercise causes muscle tissues to break down. It’s recommended that you allow 48 hours between workouts of each muscle set. Typically, this can mean working out one area, such as your upper body, one day and another section, like your lower body, the next day.
On a more “meta” level, the entirety of our lives – physical, mental, social, and spiritual – can be “overworked”, stressed, and leave us prone to various aspects of fatigue.
In an article about Dr. Edlund, EHS Today magazine notes,
“After years of clinical research and consultations with hundreds of patients, he discovered that many people aren’t just sleep-deprived, they’re rest-deprived. According to Edlund, this means our hearts, minds and central nervous systems are overloaded; our health is suffering; and we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be truly refreshed.
Edlund says too many people accept sluggishness and fatigue as the inevitable side effects of hectic lives and believe that there isn’t much they can do about it besides squeezing in another hour or two of sleep. Getting enough sleep is important, he says, but it’s only one part of a much larger spectrum of rest.”
In other words, truly healthful rest involves much more than simply getting a few extra hours of sleep once in a while or taking a longer lunch break at work now and then.
Real rest is the result of intentional and conscious effort.
Ensuring that you get sufficient and truly restful sleep each night is a large part of this, yes, but so is taking regular, scheduled breaks from social media, social engagement, and stress-inducing thought patterns.
But it also means learning to regulate your work pace, training your mind to quickly and easily obtain a sense of relaxed control, and engaging in breathing or visualization exercises periodically throughout your day.
There are multitudes of resources available to help individuals with techniques for attaining controlled relaxation, better sleep, and managing stress and the tendency to overwork.
Lack of Rest, Stress, and Physical Impact
A review by the National Institutes of Health of almost 200 studies that examined the impact of stress on physical activity determined the majority of the literature found that the experience of stress impairs efforts to be physically active.
In fact, lack of rest and chronic stress can ultimately lead to chronic pain.
An article from the American Psychological Association states,
“When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress—the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain.
With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once and then release their tension when the stress passes. Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders.
For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head. Musculoskeletal pain in the low back and upper extremities has also been linked to stress, especially job stress.”
In other words, real rest, which can reduce chronic stress, can prevent avoidable chronic pain. A body that is fully rested functions far better, is less prone to injury and is far less susceptible to pain-inducing conditions.
Recovering From Pain With Pain and Performance Solutions
The other reality of life is that, rested or not, we can sometimes find ourselves suffering from pain due to an injury, nerve entrapment, or the lingering effects of some dysfunctional gait issue.
For chronic muscle or nerve pain, the first step in recovery is allowing us to get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort. After a full examination, we can determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery.
When an injury occurs, our bodies will attempt to compensate for pain, and this can allow you to move with relatively little or no pain. However, as your body shifts movement around this can lead to other types of pain.
Relief from many types of chronic pain can be achieved with Active Release Technique® once we understand how and where your pain originated. That could mean it started with a previous injury or as the result of a work posture or a walking or sitting practice you might have developed.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.